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CHAPTER 7. 16th and 17th Centuries


Passage 7e: Samuel Pepys, Diary of Samuel Pepys


[August 1665] 16th. Up, and after doing some necessary business about my accounts at home, to the office, and there with Mr. Hater wrote letters, and I did deliver to him my last will, one part of it to deliver to my wife when I am dead. Thence to the Exchange, where I have not been a great while. But, Lord! how sad a sight it is to see the streets empty of people, and very few upon the ’Change. Jealous of every door that one sees shut up, lest it should be the plague; and about us two shops in three, if not more, generally shut up. From the ’Change to Sir G. Smith’s with Mr. Fenn, to whom I am nowadays very complaisant, he being under payment of my bills to me, and some other sums at my desire, which he readily do. Mighty merry with Captain Cocke and Fenn at Sir G. Smith’s, and a brave dinner, but I think Cocke is the greatest epicure that is, eats and drinks with the greatest pleasure and liberty that ever man did. Very contrary newes today upon the ’Change, some that our fleete hath taken some of the Dutch East India ships, others that we did attaque it at Bergen and were repulsed, others that our fleete is in great danger after this attaque by meeting with the great body now gone out of Holland, almost 100 sayle of men of warr. Every body is at a great losse and nobody can tell. Thence among the goldsmiths to get some money, and so home, settling some new money matters, and to my great joy have got home L500 more of the money due to me, and got some more money to help Andrews first advanced. This day I had the ill news from Dagenhams, that my poor lord of Hinchingbroke his indisposition is turned to the small-pox. Poor gentleman! that he should be come from France so soon to fall sick, and of that disease too, when he should be gone to see a fine lady, his mistresse. I am most heartily sorry for it. So late setting papers to rights, and so home to bed.

17th. Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon dined together upon some victuals I had prepared at Sir W. Batten’s upon the King’s charge, and after dinner, I having dispatched some business and set things in order at home, we down to the water and by boat to Greenwich to the Bezan yacht, where Sir W. Batten, Sir J. Minnes, my Lord Bruneker and myself, with some servants (among others Mr. Carcasse, my Lord’s clerk, a very civil gentleman), embarked in the yacht and down we went most pleasantly, and noble discourse I had with my Lord Bruneker, who is a most excellent person. Short of Gravesend it grew calme, and so we come to an anchor, and to supper mighty merry, and after it, being moonshine, we out of the cabbin to laugh and talk, and then, as we grew sleepy, went in and upon velvet cushions of the King’s that belong to the yacht fell to sleep, which we all did pretty well till 3 or 4 of the clock, having risen in the night to look for a new comet which is said to have lately shone, but we could see no such thing.

18 th. Up about 5 o’clock and dressed ourselves, and to sayle again down to the Soveraigne at the buoy of the Nore, a noble ship, now rigged and fitted and manned; we did not stay long, but to enquire after her readinesse and thence to Sheernesse, where we walked up and down, laying out the ground to be taken in for a yard to lay provisions for cleaning and repairing of ships, and a most proper place it is for the purpose. Thence with great pleasure up the Meadeway, our yacht contending with Commissioner Pett’s, wherein he met us from Chatham, and he had the best of it. Here I come by, but had not tide enough to stop at Quinbrough, a with mighty pleasure spent the day in doing all and seeing these places, which I had never done before. So to the Hill house at Chatham and there dined, and after dinner spent some time discoursing of business. Among others arguing with the Commissioner about his proposing the laying out so much money upon Sheerenesse, unless it be to the slighting of Chatham yarde, for it is much a better place than Chatham, which however the King is not at present in purse to do, though it were to be wished he were. Thence in Commissioner Pett’s coach (leaving them there). I late in the darke to Gravesend, where great is the plague, and I troubled to stay there so long for the tide. At 10 at night, having supped, I took boat alone, and slept well all the way to the Tower docke about three o’clock in the morning. So knocked up my people, and to bed.